Superstition Peak
After spending the previous night camping in the Superstition Mountains outside Phoenix, Arizona, Zosia Zgolak and I hooked up with Alda Sigvaldason on 3 April 2018 to hike up Superstition Peak, the highest point along the Superstition Ridge line.  Alda, an avid peak-bagger from Calgary who spends her winters in the Phoenix area, had already climbed Superstition Peak before, but she was quite happy to act as our guide and repeat the ascent with us.

Although there are multiple access routes, we started our hike from the Carney Springs trailhead which is located about 10 kilometres east of Highway 60 along Peralta Road.  From the parking area, we walked north along Carney Springs Road (closed to motorized traffic) for about a kilometre before passing through an opening in the National Forest boundary fence.  Even though there are cairns, the trail can be a little difficult to follow at times in the desert flats, and I was glad that Alda was there to keep us pointed in the right direction.  The trail became more well-defined as we climbed higher, and we soon settled into a steep but straightforward hike up a draw.  At a trail junction on a high saddle, we turned westward and dropped down slightly to cross a drainage before resuming a steady climb up the ridge on the other side.  Just before the summit, we hiked up between some impressive pinnacles before finishing the ascent with a short scramble on some slabs.

After a lengthy break on the summit, we carefully descended the slabs and retraced our steps back down the ridge.  At the drainage crossing, we briefly went the wrong way before noticing that something was awry.  It did not take long to correct ourselves, and we were soon back at the trail junction on the high saddle.  At this point, Alda gave us a choice of either extending the hike to nearby Peralta Canyon or returning to her home in Mesa for a swim in her resort's swimming pool.  Not surprisingly, Zosia and I both opted for the swim, and we continued merrily down the draw and out to the trailhead without further problems.

Besides providing Zosia and me access to their resort's swimming pool and hosting us for dinner, Alda and her husband, Don Herman, also allowed us to camp beside their home for the night.  A huge thank you goes out to Alda and Don for their wonderful company and generous hospitality.
Alda and Zosia hike across the desert flats along Carney Springs Road.  The summit of Superstition Peak is visible near the left edge of the photograph.
This is the actual trailhead! The trail passes through this National Forest boundary fence.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

It's best to hike up here while it's still shady in the early morning.

Zosia and Alda hike up a draw.

The sheep seem to be wary of an "Old Goat"! Alda comes across a big herd of sheep.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

It's starting to feel warm... After taking a short break, Zosia and Alda resume their climb up to a high saddle (upper right).
I wonder if Sigmund Freud ever visited Phoenix... Zosia and Alda climb past numerous saguaro cacti.
Hmm...the summit looks so far away! Zosia and Alda get their first clear view of the summit from the high saddle.  Note the trail junction sign beside the prickly pear cactus.
Pretty in pink! Flowers bloom on a hedgehog cactus.
This is where we briefly lost the trail on the way back. Alda and Zosia descend to cross a drainage with the trail continuing out of the photograph to the right.
We would catch up to this lone hiker later at the summit. On the far side of the drainage, Zosia and Alda resume their ascent to the summit which is visible at upper left.  Note the lone hiker ahead of them.
Believe it or not, Alda is actually visible up ahead beside a big bush. Can you spot her? From this vantage point, the trail can be seen snaking up the ridge at left.  It eventually traverses to the right around the next high point on the ridge (right of centre).
Mind the agave leaves--they're very sharp! Sonny approaches the final summit block.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Like climbing up through the ribs of a long-dead dinosaur...

Alda climbs between the pinnacles guarding the summit block.


As usual, the crux is right at the end! The ascent finishes with a scramble up the bushy slabs at centre.
Hardest part is avoiding the cacti and thorny bushes! Zosia climbs up the slabs just below the summit.
So much nicer than Camelback Mountain! Sonny, Zosia and Alda sit next to the benchmark on the summit of Superstition Peak (1529 metres).  Metropolitan Phoenix can be seen at left.
Our objectives for tomorrow! The Flatiron and Ironview Peak anchor the northwest end of the Superstition Ridge line.
It is apparently a climber's scramble... Weavers Needle is the most striking landmark to the northeast.
I think our cars are still there... The access trail can be seen along the ridge to the southeast.  The parking area for the Carney Springs trailhead is also visible in the distance.
This thing is about as big as my Swiss Army knife! This lizard makes its home among the summit rocks.
Most challenging part of the trip! Zosia carefully descends the slabs below the summit.
The perils of desert hiking! Zosia watches as Alda readjusts her shoe after removing a cactus spine.
I'm starting to run low on liquids here... Alda and Sonny take a break in the hot sun on the way out.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

A rugged but straightforward hike. Total Distance: 13.3 kilometres
Round-Trip Time: 8 hours 22 minutes
Net Elevation Gain: 859 metres

GPX Data

This felt heavenly after a long hot day in the desert! Zosia enjoys a refreshing swim at the Greenfield Village resort's pool.
There's nothing like a relaxing game of bocce ball to end the day! Don and Zosia watch Alda bowl on one of the resort's bocce ball courts.